What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a great way for bloggers and social media influencers to earn passive income by promoting someone else’s products. This means there is no inventory to manage or software to build. You receive a percentage of the item’s price or flat fee for every sale referred. All you need is an online presence, such as a blog or Instagram profile, and you can make real money by promoting products.

Why are affiliate programs a win-win for everyone?

Affiliate marketing is a popular marketing method for businesses because they only have to pay when an actual sale is made (Cost-Per-Action or CPA vs Cost-per-Milli or CPM). It is also popular with bloggers and other online businesses because it requires no inventory or software products but still generates revenue. Affiliate payments can come in many forms including a percentage of the purchase price, a flat fee per sale, or aa hybrid of the two.

For example, Grammarly’s affiliate program offers $0.20 for a Google Chrome extension installation and $20 when a customer signs up for a Premium account. This means that Grammarly is only paying out 20 cents in marketing for a Chrome extension install which not only gives them placement in all online forms where they check grammar and prove their value to customers, it gives them an email address which they can use to market customers for Premium later. Grammarly only has to pay $20 if the customer chooses to upgrade to Premium which costs $29.95/mo as of this writing. They’re still profitable during their first month even after paying marketing expenses and the affiliates get $20! Win-win!

grammarly affiliate

Another popular affiliate marketing program is the Amazon Associates program which pays affiliates for sales that are made on Amazon within 24 hours of customers clicking on a link on their website. Amazon typically pays 1-10% per sale depending on the product category and it’s a great way of ensuring customers actually buy something before paying the marketing expense. It’s a win for Amazon and affiliates earn revenue, too!

amazon affiliates

What products can you promote via affiliate programs?

The types of products that can be sold through affiliate programs are seemingly unlimited. Everything from software products to physical products can be sold through affiliate marketing programs.

Since affiliate marketing programs don’t require the marketer to hold any inventory the fulfillment of the item, whether shipping the physical product or providing the account information to log-in to a software product, is up to the seller leveraging the affiliate program. This means that affiliate marketers can leverage the same platform, their digital presences, to promote any type of affiliate products.

Who can promote affiliate products?

Anyone with an online presence can probably become an affiliate marketer. You just need a place to post the special links provided to you by the affiliate program and away you go!

How do you get started with affiliate marketing?

First you need to sign up for an affiliate program. Many affiliate programs are listed on CJ.com and ShareaSale.com. You can also sign up for Amazon Associates, another popular affiliate marketing program for beginners. All you need to do is create an account on one of those sites, fill out some information about your website, search their marketplace of 1000s of affiliate programs, and get apply.

If accepted, the program will provide you with special links and images that you can use to promote their products on your own websites or social media channels.

Top Affiliate Programs by Content Category

Below are some of the best affiliate marketing programs. You can find many more programs in affiliate marketplaces.


rewardsStyle: Built for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle influencers, rewardsStyle provides a slew of monetization methods

ShopStyle Collective: For fashion influencers, ShopStyle matches your audience with the right products automatically and pays via a CPA model.


Grammarly: Grammarly pays $0.20 for every free Google Chrome plugin installed and $20 for every premium subscription.

Personal Finance

FlexOffers: FlexOffers is an affiliate network that has thousands of affiliate programs in it including many personal finance and credit card ones.

Personal Capital: Personal Capital is a great platform to consolidate all of your personal finances into one easy-to-read dashboard. Link all of your accounts to get a high-level view of your finances. Their affiliate program pays $50-100 per qualified sign-up.

Acorns: Acorns is a great investing app for beginners that automatically rounds up your purchases and invests the change. You can promote this great investing app and earn $5 per funded account.

Credit.com: Credit.com helps people make smarter financial decisions by offering expert advice about various financial products and situations.

Web Tools and Hosting

Bluehost: The king of web hosting affiliate programs, Bluehost pays out $65 per sign up to begin with and can increase that amount depending on your total sales volumes.

GoDaddy: GoDaddy, the famous domain marketplace, will pay you a commission whenever you refer a domain sale.

Big Scoots: Big Scoots is a WordPress optimized hosting company that will pay you $5 just to join and 90% of the first months hosting cost for any sales you refer.

HostGator: HostGator is another popular hosting platform similar to Bluehost and offers competitive commission rates.


Booking.com: Booking.com will pay you for stayed bookings and offers a tiered program based on how many bookings you have per month.

TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor pays up to 50% commissions and allows you to source content from their millions of travel reviews that you can use on your site as long as you link back through your affiliate link.

AirB&B Referral Program: While technically a referral program, AirB&B offers up to $72 for every successful referral for up to $5000 of travel per account.